When it comes to work-related injuries, an office environment may seem like a relatively safe place to work, compared to hazards that are present at construction sites, warehouses, or manufacturing plants. However, sitting behind a desk poses certain risks such as strains, pulled muscles, and other potentially disabling injuries. Knowing what the leading office accidents are and the steps to take to avoid them can prevent these types of accidents from occurring.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the most common type of office accident, known for causing more serious and disabling injuries. In fact, the injury rate of office-related falls is 2:2, and greater than the rate for non-office employees. Common causes of falls in the office environment include tripping over an open desk drawer or electrical cord, slipping on a wet floor, tripping over loose carpeting, or falling due to poor lighting. The following safety tips can help prevent many, if not all, of these fall hazards from happening:
- Make sure that all commonly used pathways are clear
- Close all desk drawers after use
- Ensure that all electrical cords and wires are properly secured away from walkways
- Never use chairs in place of a ladder when something is out of reach
- Promptly report any loose or damaged carpet or flooring
- Pick up any objects on the floor that can be tripping hazards
- Wear the appropriate footwear that has non-slip soles
- Do not carry objects that can obstruct your vision
If you find yourself about to fall, try to let yourself crumble and roll as opposed to reaching, which can make a workplace injury worse.
Strains and Overexertion
While office jobs do not usually involve a great deal of heavy lifting, lifting things such as boxes of printer paper or stacks of files can cause injuries to your back, neck , and shoulders if you lift them incorrectly. Before attempting to lift something at work, consider the following questions:
- Is the item too heavy to carry alone?
- Must the item be put somewhere elevated?
- How far must I carry the item?
- If the item is too heavy, do not attempt to lift it without asking another employee for help, or contacting your supervisor.
Always lift heavy items using the correct form. For example, keep feet placed and shoulder-width apart, maintain a neutral back position, never twist when lifting, and do not carry loads that will block your vision.
Struck by or Striking Objects
Common examples of these types of office accidents include:
- Bumping into objects such as doors, desk drawers, and cabinets
- Walking into other people
- Striking office objects that have sharp parts or edges such as printers, staples, pins, and spindle files
Caught In or Between Objects
This type of accident occurs when an employee gets a body part or article of clothing caught in or between objects. Examples include:
- Fingers caught in a drawer, door, or window
- Fingers, hair, or jewelry caught in an office machine
- Fingers caught under the blade of a paper cutter
While less obvious than other types of accidents, workstation accidents are caused by poorly designed chairs or desks, computers positioned at the wrong height, and sitting down for long periods. The following steps can help avoid health issues such as muscle strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and eye strain:
- Invest in an ergonomically advanced office chair
- Take regular breaks to stretch, walk, and get some fresh air
- Make sure that your back and arms are supported
- Adjust your computer monitor so that the top of the screen is at eye level
When objects fall from shelves or cupboards and hit an employee, it can cause a range of injuries. Prevent this from happening by taking the following steps:
- Install the proper storage devices
- Store heaviest objects on lower shelves
- Avoid stacking unstable boxes too high
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Office Accidents
If you have been seriously injured in an accident at work, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will provide you with the experienced legal counsel you need in order to recover the maximum financial compensation you deserve. From medical bill and lost wages to disability, we will ensure that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled. For a free consultation, do not hesitate to call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.